I do not believe that any peacock envies another peacock his tail, because every peacock is persuaded that his own tail is the finest in the world. The consequence of this is that peacocks are peaceable birds. – Bertrand Russell
This is an image taken of a high functioning brain using a diffusion MRI machine, which can follow the neural pathways and connections of the brain. When I first saw this picture I think I cried….haha you can’t deny the beauty of the brain. Ahh, the tree of life. That my friends, is the coolest thing I have ever seen.
On the real – I love writing, and I’m all for self-development and spiritual talk but the truth is I come from a family who speaks in cold hard facts, a pure love for science is in my blood. I think this is an important guideline because to far on the spectrum either way (science vs. spiritual) doesn’t help the majority grasp the beautiful middle, and that’s where the fun happens. haha, let’s just say the scientific method is a golden rule in the McBeath Casa. Which I must admit keeps me super grounded in my writing and in my research – I can thank my dad for that one. Science fair, say whaaa?
Psychology & neuroscience is my jam — I have been uber fascinated with the human mind and brain since high school – how could you not be is my question. Do you guys remember Bill Nye? Well I’m going to get a little BN the science guy on you (you know you sing it every time in your head too) – I truly think a little science is good for the soul – and I think it’s important to know how our “crown jewel” runs the show. Ps. Psyche is derived from the greek word for soul. #soulology
Did you know that there are 100 billion neurons in your brain, roughly the same as the number of stars in our Milky Way galaxy? And to think that it isn’t all within ;] Let’s just say we’ve got the whole world in our hands. This most complex system that sits on our shoulders weighing in at around three pounds is the most mysterious and complex object in our solar system. Which is probably why there are numerous labs around the world trying to reverse engineer the brain so that they can understand what actually goes on up stairs — to that I say, good luck.
Each of these billion neurons are apart of your intricate electrical system – your wires “live tissue” if you will – sending electrical impulses throughout your whole body to tell it what to do, when to do it and how to do it through chemicals (messenger molecules / neurotransmitters). Mind to body, body to mind.
Our brains are constantly evolving and growing – we are not static, closed systems. We aren’t hardwired like a computer if you will (neuromorphic computer chips are changing this — cool, yet a little scary). Our mind/brain is so much cooler than that, it’s not even mind over matter, it’s mind turning into matter as your thoughts create new pathways. Boom! Neurons that wire together fire together. Let’s take a deep breath after that one. In the field of neuroscience, they call this neuroplasticity – it is your brains ability to create, regenerate, adapt, and change based on it’s environment. That old sang, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a myth, and I’m happy to see it go.
We are autonomous beings with choice and the ability to create new behaviors and thoughts daily. We can get under the hood and mix it up a little — the more choices we have the better of we are for sure. It’s a free-market upstairs if you want it – use your brain, don’t let it use you. I’ll be honest though changing habits that have been engrained in our neural pathways since our imprinting years (0-8) takes practice, intention and deep inward reflection. This is why meditation and mindfulness are such incredible practices – they help you re-wire your brain by disrupting patterns and disconnecting existing neurology to create new, better, and compelling reactions.
I believe that understanding the anatomy and physiology of our brains is our ticket to the past, present and the future. With all of that being said, I think we could use a little software update. Our thoughts, memories, desires, and experiences shape the way we perceive our reality each moment. Truth is, we all have a lot of self-limiting beliefs, fears, pain, anger and rules that are holding us back. Most of us aren’t aware of some of these unconscious beliefs because they happened when we were just young bucks enjoying otter pops and yoyo’s. Kinda crazy to think that most of us are creating our futures based off of the information and a framework that is built in the past and then acted upon in the present moment — no wonder history repeats itself. Yikes bikes.
Patterns re-emerge over and over because we aren’t actually getting to the root cause – the neural pathway that needs a little update. We go through life and make decisions based off of things we learned from our parents, teachers, or anyone who raised us. The power of suggestion really does shape our thoughts, words and actions – it’s almost programming your thoughts from the get go – unconsciously – to survive. That’s why fear shows up again and again – we needed to be fearful in the past because if we were doing yoga in the meadow we would’ve been coyote chow – side note – not a good look. It was a survival mechanism and it’s why I’m sitting here today typing this on my computer and you are on yours reading this. Times have changed though and I don’t know about you but I’m not being chased by lions, tigers, and bears – most days.
Our brains have a negativity bias, engraining pain points even deeper than positive memories because our minds find it necessary to put a yellow star next to them so we can avoid them at all cost in the future, no one truly likes pain. These pain points weigh us down more than we are even aware of, holding us back from reaching that super sweet infinite human potential I was talking about. We gotta release those bad boys, when the time is right of course.
Can you see where something may be holding you back? If you did know, what would it look like? What would it feel like? I invite you to be mindful of your thoughts. I remember listening to a Dr. once on Dr. Oz (love that man) and she said whenever you feel hungry grab an apple, if you’re hungry eat it, if you’re not, don’t. It’s funny how many times we turn towards food to help soothe a much deeper feeling – just that suggestion alone got me thinking about the underlying emotions & feelings as I went for the apple haha. Baby steps my friends, baby steps.
Humans need to feel like they are being loved and loving others (compassion), gratitude (happiness), peace, a vision for the future, self-determination (sense of control), and feeling supported. That sounds about right — and I think those met needs will keep you happy, happy. I think that meditating, journaling, slowing down enough to be one with your thoughts and being mindful of actions, thoughts, and words has the potential to change your whole life – putting you in control of the future, for real though.
On meditation/mindfulness, Time magazine says, “boosting immune system, brain scan suggests that it may be rewiring the brain to reduce stress.” (it is)The Washington Post adds, “…increased activity in the brain related to positive emotion.” And to top it all off, CBS news writes, “…helps depression, control pain, increase longevity, slow down cancer, invigorate immune system, and significantly reduce blood pressure.” Time kills me with this one, stating, “Meditation can sometimes be used to replace viagra.” — I can probably site another 10,000 studies but the proof is in the pudding, try it out for yourself. I personally like these meditation apps: Omvana & Headspace.
Seriously though, check that picture out again – that is unflippin real. haha I’m a dork, over and out loves.
Illuminate your past within the present and I promise you the future will be in your hands, the Milky Way and all.
Woooooosahhh my friends. xx Ky
pss. Bill Nye is still around and kicking it. Mad Respect. haha